Friday, November 02, 2018

Flash Fiction #327-- Connor of Northgate/11


Chapter 3

Liam fit in well enough after the first few days.  Everyone had been uneasy, including Liam himself, but they soon grew calmer.  Spring spread to summer, which was pleasant enough.

Other changes came, though.  Nylia, not surprisingly, was the first to start feeling the change that came with the awakening of her powers.  She went into seclusion with older fae who would teach her how to control the magic that could get too quickly out of hand.  Rendon went next and Erlis not long afterward, leaving the nightly table empty of all but Connor and Liam.

He suspected Liam would soon go into retreat as well because the Seer did have other magical powers.  Connor tried not to let his own feelings show about the changes.  It was no more their fault that they were fae than his that he was human.  This was as inevitable as the sun rising, and Rion had been talking to him about it for months already.

But still -- still it hurt.  The friends he had known all his life had finally gone to a place he could not follow.  Connor sat awake at night and tried to curb the anger that threatened to take him.  He tried not to watch Liam with anxiousness, waiting for him to go away too.

As though they wouldn't come back.

He knew they would.  Others went through this right of passage.  Children were usually born every ten years, groups born to each age.  Connor had been lucky that he came when one group was barely a few months older than him.  He had fitted in.

Until now.

Erlis was the first to come back.  Connor and Liam found him at the table waiting for dinner.  He looked up and gave so bright a smile that Connor forgot all the worries he'd had about changes.

"It's good to be back," Erlis said as they settled in their places.  The others aren't out yet?  I can't believe I tamed the beast before Nylia!"

Erlis spent dinner telling them humorous stories about magic gone wrong. Even those beyond their table laughed. Druce did not, but then he had not gotten his call to power yet, either.  He glared at all of them.

Stuck being no better than human, Connor thought with a bit of a smirk.  He tried not to feel better for it.

Instead, he studied Erlis, who had changed in subtle ways.  He sat up straighter as though he had grown taller.  His face had lost any sign of indecision and confusion.  Adult, Connor thought and wondered how he would become an adult.  How did I happen to humans? 

Was there anyone he could ask?

The idea slipped away from him over the next few days.  Nylia showed up within ten days, and she too had some funny tales to tell, once Erlis shared some of his own again.
 
They drew attention and drew Connor into the stories with them.  They made him a part of this time, even when he could not share it.  He liked them more for it.

On the night after Rendon finally came wandering in as well, and shared his own jokes, it seemed that all was back to normal again.  Despite that they now had magic, they were the same.  Maybe wiser -- maybe that was needed to control magic -- but still the same as they had been the month before.

Liam often walked with him up the stairs.  He was calmer, too, though he still sometimes missed a step or turned his head to listen to something the rest of them could not see or hear.

"They are good friends," Liam said as they stopped by their doors.  "I hadn't thought to feel so much a part of this place.  And I don't fear my own magic so much now."

"Good.  Will you have a problem?"

"Some," he admitted and leaned against the door jamb.  He pushed his hair back out of his face.  Connor had started thinking he sometimes used the hair as a veil, hiding as best he could.  "I've been reading all I can about other seers, but it turns out they all had different problems.  Quite a few of them died when their magic came, though."

"No!"

He had not meant to sound so worried and upset, and it drew Liam's startled look this time.
 "It's all right. They were mostly seers who had been alone.  Cast out from their people.  I have help here.  Rion and Lord Northgate both have already taken considerable time with me.  More so than my own people would."

"You will be all right."

"I think so," he said and gave a sudden bright smile.  "Either that or I have a very active imagination when it comes to seeing the future."

He almost asked -- but he stopped himself.

"Oh, you are wiser than most.  Even Nylia has asked for some hints.  And Druce demanded I tell him, but that came to a quick end when Rion got hold of him and took him straight to Lord Northgate.  He hasn't talked to me since.  We better get some rest.  Tomorrow --"

He stopped and blinked, then shook his head and went into his room without saying another word.

That, Connor decided, was going to be annoying.

Connor didn't sleep well, woke up early, and went down to breakfast with Liam, who was always quiet in the mornings.  It had made him wonder how well his friend slept most nights.

Breakfast and the morning class were normal, which he realized, would not be going on much longer.  As the others gained more control of their powers, they would go off to serve in their chosen places at the keep.

And what would he do?  Perpetual student?  Growing old here --

Which was something else he didn't think much about.  He would grow old and die. The others would not.

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